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NC State’s Ryan Held is an Olympic gold medal winner

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Swimming - Olympics: Day 2 Photo by Adam Pretty/Getty Images

That was fun! The United States turned in an outstanding team performance in the 4x100m freestyle relay event, beating the competition by more than half a second to claim the gold medal. NC State rising junior Ryan Held swam the third leg of the relay and was excellent, maintaining the lead for the U.S. that Michael Phelps had established in the previous leg.

Phelps was unreal in that second leg—he turned what was a neck-and-neck race into a significant lead for the United States, and from his second 50 meters on, the U.S. was in control.

Held, meanwhile, shaved a few tics off of his preliminaries time. I think it’s fair to say he justified his place on the relay team. In the finals, he was third-fastest among the eight third-leg swimmers. It took everything he had—dude was completely gassed after his swim—but it paid off big-time.

I can’t imagine what goes through your mind when you’re making an Olympic debut with these stakes. Held didn’t disappoint, and now he has a gold medal to show for it.